Several weeks ago I penned a blog on “Converged, Is It a Fad or Real” regarding the adoption of Converged Systems. This spawned a discussion amongst some vendor sales and marketing teams in regards to future configurations and adoption. The most interesting discussion was on why the cloud won’t take over the world. I’ve contended that small businesses will move to the cloud. They will do well to use a high quality cloud managed service provider (MSP) so as to benefit from the economies of scale, better IT resources and availability metrics. The MSP along with cloud-shared SaaS services, such as file, email and CRM will meet the majority of their needs. However, the core business application is dis-served by any type of cloud offering. If a business is reliant on the cloud application for continued operations and the last mile of a communication line fails, the business is down, shipments don’t happen, manufacturing stops, and sales are slowed or nil. Believe me, we have been subjected to at least three communication outages in the last 9 months, courtesy of Comcast.
This means the small business still needs computer, storage, and networking on site for critical applications but at a smaller scale. Enter the value of converged (or hyper converged ) such as ScaleComputing, Nutanix, and Symplivity systems. (By the way, the use of MSP and on-site systems is why resellers won’t disappear). Hyperconverged systems—everything in the box—have the promise of “plug it in and use it” without the need for broad staff knowledge—a very attractive offering when considering total cost of ownership. We expect MSPs will still be used for non-critical applications that are highly dispersed or applications that benefit from shared resources. Beyond the basics of performance and usability, considerations when acquiring hyperconverged still need to be made for upgrades (How granular is the converged system? What if I need more storage, compute power?) and serviceability (Who is in charge of fixing it? What is the expected SLA?). If not, the business will find themselves back into managing individual components.
Overall, expect small business to remain hybrid much like the big enterprises, but for different reasons. VARs will help their clients decide on the best approaches, recommending both on-site systems and managed services which may or may not be their own operations. Small businesses will need less in the way of technical skills for IT, preferring to invest in the technical aspects of their core operations.
All because of the last mile.